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Max Verstappen beats Charles Leclerc to take pole position at Imola Grand Prix

For the first time since the Japanese GP in 2012, Mercedes failed to secure qualification for Q3.

Saurabh Ganguly Editor

Updated - 23 April 2022 9:41 pm

It was quite the most contrasting scene in the build-up to the Imola Grand Prix finale on Sunday. While Max Verstappen of Red Bull beat the likes of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc into second and McLaren’s Lando Norris into third on one hand, to earn the pole position for the event, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes produced one of their worst performances in close to a decade on Saturday.

Hamilton only just about managed to made it into the Q2 where he finished in the 13th place with his teammate George Russell finishing 11th. While it could be said that they were unlucky with the rains affecting their timing in Q2 but the fact is that they were way behind in the race.

Their car has been a massive issue this season and it continued to haunt them as for the first time since the Japanese GP in 2012 that Mercedes failed to secure qualification for Q3.

“It wasn’t a great session, naturally it’s disappointing,” Hamilton said after the session.

“We underperformed as a team today. There are things that we should have done that we didn’t do. We will just keep working hard, but each weekend is a rescue,” he added.

While he was seeing having a conversation with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff after the underwhelming performance, he refused to dig into the details of the conversation he had.

Meanwhile, Verstappen was understandably happy but said that it was a hectic and long qualifying. He expressed his happiness on the fact that F1 was back in Italy. He heaped praise on the track and said that it punishes a driver if he makes a mistake and one can go into the wall.

The pole position has now given Verstappen the advantage to fight back a few points in the title race which is currently being led by Leclerc with 71 points. The current world champion though is sixth with 25 points.

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